When it comes to design, Microsoft played it pretty safe with the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, sticking to the tried-and-tested cuboid, but the company could be cooking up a new console with a radical new form factor that would make the PS5 look boring by comparison.
Seamus Blackley, co-creator of the original Xbox, shared a concept for the first console that older fans might recognize, but that never came to fruition as the final design. It's a bold, X-shaped piece of hardware that is even more audacious than the PS5.
Blackley tweeted out the image, asking his followers if they'd be interested in a system that looks like the original prototype, adding the caveat that it would stream and play OG Xbox games only. Think of it as Microsoft's take on the ream of mini consoles we've seen; Blackley hasn't indicated a size, but it will sit alongside the likes of the SNES Classic, PlayStation Classic, or Sega Genesis Mini, all of which have been shrunk down.
The main difference is that those mini systems are pre-loaded with titles, whereas Microsoft would be going one better and opening up its entire library of original Xbox games to be streamed on the device.
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If there was a device that looked like this, that streamed and played OG Xbox games ONLY, would you desire it? Asking for a friend. pic.twitter.com/8LqjbTJBasFebruary 4, 2021
The tweet got a positive reception, and Blackley followed up saying:
"Hey everybody- before I irritate Phil- I’m psyched people like this idea. I wanted to see if people were still psyched about our old design. I’m amazed by the response. Maybe this is possible. It’s hard, all this stuff. But sometimes it’s worth the pain."
It's certainly no guarantee that we'll see such a piece of hardware come to light, but given Microsoft's willingness to just roll the dice on more whimsical projects, like the Xbox Fridge, we wouldn't discount it just yet.
You can check out what the OG Xbox prototype looked like in the flesh in the image below, shared by Xbox social marketing manager Graeme Boyd. If there's a design that can outdo the PS5, this is it.
Sony has its own plans for the PS5, and while we've not heard official word on PS5 faceplates, despite the companies that have been springing up (and being shut down), Sony did promise that we'd see "even more beautiful (and hopefully radical) special editions" of the hardware, so we'll have to wait and see what it's got up its sleeve.